“There has been duplication of effort. The programme has not always been as efficient or effective as possible. It was clear from the National Audit Office report there is much to learn and much to do. The good news is that much is already underway to make improvements.
We support the PAC conclusion that better commissioning must take place. We must develop services that make sense for young people and get the best value for each pound spent. As such a national online testing service for all, regardless of where they live, should be commissioned as a matter of urgency.
We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. The National Chlamydia Screening Programme must continue so we can find and treat infections that would otherwise have gone undiagnosed. The programme is one plank, along with the teenage pregnancy strategy that will ensure continuing improvements in young people’s sexual health.'
The urgent thing now is to learn from history, from what has worked and from what has not worked to ensure the right balance of locally driven and locally determined responses, with national direction to reduce effort and duplication, ensure services are relevant and make sense to young people and ensure best value for money. Steps have already been taken by DH and NSCP to address many of the issues the PAC report raised and I look forward to doing all I can to help them.